Current Problems With U.S. Healthcare

Current Problems With U.S. Healthcare

A perspective on the current problems Americans face regarding healthcare, especially when considering economics, social climate, and politics.


"Hi, this is Jacqui, how may I help you? Oh hi Jo! What are you up to? Oh, work is just slow today, so I'm just sitting at the front desk. Yeah, yeah, I saw that whole fiasco on TV last night. Honestly, she dominated him in the debate. No, I don't think he's going to win again, especially with the blue wave taking over the country. When she wins, we can finally get this country back on track…"


"Sorry, Jo I have to go," Jacqui said as she hung up the phone. "Hi Ma'am, how may I help you?"

"Hi, I'm here for my 11:30 am appointment with Dr. Guerrero," the woman said breathily, her forehead gleaming in sweat.

"Let me check to see if the doctor is available, but I doubt he is at the moment, especially with you arriving so late. It's 12:15 pm"

"Yes, but it took me over 1.5 hours to get here!"

"I'm sorry to hear about that Mrs.-"


"Well, again, I'm sorry that that happened Mrs. Gutierrez, let me check if your doctor is still available". Jacqui then reaches for the phone. "Yes, ok, sounds good, thanks. Mrs. Gutierrez, Dr. Guerrero will be able to see you at 12:45 pm if you are available"

She clasped her hands, stating "Yes, that's great!"

As Jacqui began to do data entry, Mrs. Gutierrez started speaking again.

"I am not usually late, but I swear that this wasn't my fault; my insurance chose this doctor for me.

Jacqui then paused, and asked "Can you explain? I don't understand"

"Ok, so, after enrolling in the state health insurance, I chose my preferred doctor and saved her name on the website. However, when later calling her office for a time to call, it said that the line was disconnected. Then I tried another doctor that would be covered, but then I was directed to another office telephone number. And when I called that number, his number was also disconnected. Two weeks after deleting my doctor preference and giving up on this, I receive a card from the state health insurance, assigning me to this doctor in Queens. But I live up in the North Bronx, this made no sense to me"

"You're from the North Bronx?"

"Yes, and I, in the end, remained with seeing Dr. Guerrero because I could not change my primary care provider in time. Furthermore, I had to wake up very early today, and take the subway for 1.5 hours in order to get to this office, on top of the subway delays"

"Wow, I'm so sorry to hear about that, I-"

"Hi, my name is James Redmok, and I have a procedure with Dr. Atkin today" the second man stated as he walked up to the front desk.

"Hi James, yes, I see that. Let me go over a couple of important details about the procedure with you. First, unfortunately, your state health insurance is not going to cover all of this operation, and due to that, the amount owed will be-"

"What do you mean that the operation is not covered?"

"I mean that your operation involving radiation and eliminating the cancer is not fully covered by your insurance. After calculating the amount you will have to pay out of pocket, around $40,000" she said.

"$40,000! I can barely afford to keep the payments on my car and kids at the moment. I thought that my insurance policy stated that they would cover my operations and procedures related to my disease"

Jacqui slowly took off her glasses, folded them, then stated "But since it is on the experimental side, general health insurance policies usually do not cover specific or rare procedures such as this"

"So, what should I do now?" James stated as he began to look through his wallet for his credit card. "There had to be a solution to this," he thought.

As he continued to do this, Jacqui noticed that a patient was in the process of being transferred from IC to their department. When seeing this, she had James sit down next to Mrs. Gutierrez, and went to speak with the new patient.

"Hi, my name is Jacqui, let me see what I can do for your today" she stated to the woman. After looking at the charts, and seeing the label "INSURANCE: NOT PROVIDED", she asked her " Do you have any health insurance?"

The woman froze for one long minute and finally declared "No".

When Jacqui asking why the woman began to explain her story.

"So, the reason why I do not have health insurance is that I can't pay for the high premiums in healthcare. After switching to Obamacare, I found that while my personal income did not increase, the prices of drugs and services did. As a result of this, I had to resort to cutting down the usage of my car and looking for other places to live.

"Have there been any penalties for not having healthcare, especially with the Affordable Care Act being passed"

"Yes, I receive monthly a fine because, under Obamacare, it's almost mandated that you be on healthcare insurance anyway. So what am I supposed to do?"

"Yes, I understand" Jacqui nodded.

"I mean, I either have to choose between putting food on the table for myself and my family, or for paying for my own healthcare myself. And because of the rising prices in Big Pharma and brands, it is barely affordable for me and a lot of other people now... So, do you know what the approximate cost is going to be for the emergency room services?"

"Well, your total cost excluding overnight is going to be around $30,000," Jacqui said quietly.

"And if I had health insurance?" he asked her.

"Less than $1,000 USD" she stated,

"The woman then got up slowly from the patient chair, running quickly down the hall.

Jacqui walked out to the back room and tried to calm herself. After a couple of minutes of being overwhelmed by the three previous people that day, she was allowed to leave at 5 pm. After getting into her car, she drove off from the hospital, and even passed her house, exiting off to lanes labeled "Airport".

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.

After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say, "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing.

My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from "Shameless."

"Shameless" is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out of place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum, it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone, however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by "Shameless."

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'Culling' The Bullsh*t; Taking A Deeper Look At The Antibiotics In The Livestock Industry

You want the truth? Here it is.


As many people have seen around the internet, one of the hot topics is having cattle or other livestock antibiotic free. This has lead to a movement that is not only incorrect with their basic information, but they are hurting family farms across the nation. This stems from the idea that antibiotics contaminate meat products and will affect the consumer. In this article the main points that "justify" the antibiotic culture will be broken down and simplified. I hope by the end of reading this you will be more knowledgeable about this subject, and will make the best decision for you and your family.

1. "If you don't specifically buy antibiotic free meat, you will buy meat with antibiotics in it."

The FDA has control check on the processing line when livestock is processed. This means that the likelihood of any "antibiotic filled" animal to make it through is slim to none. If by chance a ranch or feedlot gets flagged by FDA, they will be fined with a bill in the thousands. This type of flag will make it difficult for that ranch to ever sell livestock in the normal market again. This is only one of the incentives for ranch owners to stay in the clear.

2. "Antibiotics are used to promote growth"

This statement is false. Antibiotics are used to treat an illness. Yes an animal might gain weight after treatment. But that is because when we are sick we tend to not eat as much. Once you start to feel better, it stirs up your hunger. Antibiotics are and have never been used to promote growth.

3. What happens to the animal on an antibiotic free farm when it gets sick.

Let's do a comparison example. If your child got sick what do you normally do? Take them to the doctor and if he prescribes a medication for them you would provide the correct amount to treat the illness. This is the same way with the livestock industry. Most antibiotics and medication in general are a prescription based. Therefore, a vet will need to sign off on the treatment of the animals. While most ranches will treat the illness and move on, antibiotic free farms need to move that animal off site to another ranch. Some of the time they have a secondary place where those treated animals go to live out their life. Not treating a sick animal is inhumane.

These are only a few of the antibiotic free lies that surround the livestock world. And I am not saying for someone to completely change their beliefs over one article, what I am saying is do your research. From both sides of the argument. Then base your final decision from what you have learned. The agriculture industry has many that oppose that will use fear-tactics to push their agenda. And although we are not a perfect industry, we are a very important part of society. And we hold high standards for ourselves because of that.

Thank you for reading,

if you have a suggestion of what I should talk about next leave a comment.

-Chrystal B.

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